If your haven't heard bad press, their probably squeaky clean because the reporters dig deep these days.
While the ejection game marred the Spurs/Suns series, what gets lost is fundamental basketball...in the end the Spurs won because the Suns could not consistently stop the dribble penetration. In that series the penetrator scored. In tonights game that wasn't the case, rather after breaking down the defense, they kicked out for the open three which their role players (ala Paxson & Kerr of the Bulls' days) knocked down.
Don't ruin my impression of Micheal Jordan. To his credit he was a STRONG competitor, he made himself better by working at it, he never felt he was too good for a practice. I was a kid when he was popular I doubt I paid much attention to his off-court antics.
However, within the last 7 or 8 years something completely spoiled my impression of basketball. The AND1 tour didn't help. OHHHH LORD.....
Another thing that has impacted basketball is the salary cap and free agency. Bet some of the older teams with talent stock-piled might not have been able to hold those teams together today.
I think the main problem with the league right now is that it's still recovering from the "drafting on potential" era that really hurt the league. Too many high schoolers and guys that just didn't pan out were drafted early, and those guys didn't have the opportunity to work on any fundamentals in college. Thus there is a lack of fundamentals and team play that is really hurting the league. Look at Haluska. In the 80s and early 90s the guy would have been a lead pipe lock to be drafted. Now he'll probably continue his career overseas and I think it's really important to have guy like Haluska on teams because they are fundamental players.
Plus there are flat out wayyy to many teams in the league. They should contract the Bobcats, Hornets, and Raptors now in my opinion.
Edit: One other thing - the East is so much weaker than the West it's immeasurable. If a casual fan tunes in to watch some good basketball in the finals, they will be disappointed because the finals actually happened a few rounds ago when the Spurs played the Suns.
1. NBA Expansion. More teams and high salaries have made it more difficult for teams to hold together a group of great players.
2. Desire to draft the next great young talent.
Before the recent rule change (ha ha a joke) regarding drafting high school kids, the draft was full of players fresh out of high school, and teams were gambling on them because they didn't want to miss out on "what if". Young players whose idea of "team" is being the star on their high school team, and players jumping between teams because of salary issues leads to teams that aren't as strong as they used to be because they used to play together for a long time.
Watching the NBA is like watching the WMPBL, the Wayne Morgan Professional Basketball League.
The Raptors were far better than both of those teams as of late with Chris Bosh coming on strong.
Haluska is not NBA talent - that's like saying the NFL needs more guys like Drew Tate, average white-guys. Lebron is the King of fundamentals, Parker and Duncan should teach a clinic. There are some very fundamentally sound players out there doing very well - but Adam won't be one of them.
A pair of smaller market teams in the finals and to cap it off...so far it's been a no-contest.
That produces a lot of yawns from the fans and TV sets tuned to something else.
1. There are more teams in today's game which dispurses the talent. Couple that with all the highschool kids and early entrants from college, and the level of play isn't what it used to be.
2. Look at the 2003 draft... Detroit picked Darko Milicic with the #2 pick over players like Carmelo Anthony, Wade, & Hinrich. I'd say Kyle Korver at #51 has had a better career thus far than Darko.
Teams pay these younger kids so much that they feel obligated to play them and learn on the fly. Atleast Detroit was smart enough not to play Darko until mop up time.
As I skim through this, some great points about the rush on very young players. The new rule forcing players to spend a year in college was very beneficial for both sides and I think it really should be 2 years - but 1 is better than zero.
Owners/coaches saw Byrant and James come into the league and dominate right away. Most professional franchises copycat what their neighbor is doing, so everyone followed suit in looking for these young guys - get 'em before they become too big of starts.
I'll bet for every phenomenon like James and Bryant - there are 20+ guys like 'em that won't pan out - especially not getting that year or two in the "intermediate level" to improve their skills.
The NBA got the point, just a little too late.
I've heard a lot of people talk about the league being overexpanded and I think there may be some truth to that but I also wonder if that isn't overblown. The pool of players to choose from is worldwide now and I think that, overall, there might be better players now than at anytime in the past.
I don't know what the problem is but last night was unwatchable. I've tried to defend the NBA in the past but there's no defending THAT. Until the East can pick up the slack it's going to be rare to have a good Finals series.
Last night reminded me of a few of our past Cyclone football games. The opposing team tried and tried to give us the game. We'd even beat them in every category.
Yet in the end, we just couldn't get out of our own way and lost. The Cavs looked like that last night, especially on offense. That series near the end of the 4th quarter was ugly. If they would've scored on at least a fourth of those trips they'd be back in the series at 2-1.
Frankly, I think the NBA has more talent than it ever has had. The real problem is parity in the league thus making it tougher to get through the playoffs and into the finals every year like the Celtics and Lakers did back in the 80's. Back then, the league had the haves (Lakers and Celtics) and a whole bunch of have-nots. Both of those teams had a huge stockpile of quality players that you just don't see in today's NBA with the salary cap.
As for the "thugishness" of the league, I think you better read your police blotter a litttle more closely. The league that has the real "thugs" these days is the NFL...Pacman, Tank, name-your-Bengal, etc. The top players in the NBA are, for the most part, squeaky clean...LeBron, Duncan, Nash, Nowitzki, D Wade, etc. More importantly, these players have very fundamentally sound games. I personally believe LeBron and Duncan are two of the most fundamentally sound players to ever play the game.
You wonder why the Spurs are winning? Watch when ABC shows the "Fantastic 4 players to watch"...LeBron (Cavs), Duncan (Spurs), Ginobili (Spurs), and Parker (Spurs)...it's 3 against 1!
LeBron (barring injury) is going to go down as the greatest player to ever play the game. He got his team to the Finals quicker than Jordan did and he still doesn't have that second quality player on his team that Jordan needed to make his run in Pippen. In fact, what LeBron is doing is quite unique (having only one quality player in the Finals)...look back and nearly every championship team has had at least 2 (and sometimes 3) quality players. More recently...Kobe/Shaq, D Wade/Shaq. In the past Jordan/Pippen, Olajuwon/Drexler, Robinson/Duncan. Further back Magic/Kareem, Bird/McHale/Parrish/DJ. Way Back Cousy/Russell, Alcindor/Robertson.